PM Narendra Modi departs for Italy, UK, to meet several European leaders

PM Modi will participate in meetings with several European leaders including France President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European council Charles Michel, President of the European commission Ursula Von Der Leyen.

PM Narendra Modi departs for Italy, UK, to meet several European leaders

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a whole host of bilateral meetings during his visit to Italy for the G20 summit and Glasgow Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. On the sidelines of the G20 summit, the PM will participate in meetings with several European leaders including France President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European council Charles Michel, President of the European commission Ursula Von Der Leyen.

The in-person meeting with the French President comes as part of high-level exchanges between the two, including the telephonic conversation in September after the AUKUS pact that miffed Paris. The AUKUS pact between UK, US and Australia on nuclear submarines was termed as "stab in the back" by France, and a major cause of rift with Canberra. 

The focus has been on PM's meeting with Pope and Secretary of State of Vatican City, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Saturday. Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla at a presser on Thursday said, PM "will also call on the Pope. What discussion he will have, I can't tell but it is an important meeting. We are also looking to meet the next president of G20, which is Indonesia's President. Large number of bilateral being worked out". 

Significantly, the Prime Minister will meet German chancellor Angela Merkel, an important meeting given her tenure as the leader of her country comes to an end. She has been seen as one of the most charismatic European leaders, serving the chancellorship of Germany since 2005. The 16th G20 summit will see a number of pull aside when the leaders gather at the G20 summit venue-- the Roma convention center. The PM will also hold talks with Prime minister of Italy Mario Draghi, who is the host of the summit. 

Speaking to WION, India's envoy to Italy Neena Malhotra said, "PM Modi will meet Italian PM Mario Draghi which will be their first in-person meeting. Bilateral Relationship has strengthened, especially in the past few years and got a major boost after the virtual summit (with the then Prime Minister of Italy Prof. Giuseppe Conte) we had last year in November".

In Glasgow, he will hold bilateral talks with host UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The in-person meet is something both sides have been waiting for a long time.

Remember, the UK PM was the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade earlier this year, but that could not happen due to covid crisis in his country, later PM Modi was to visit for the G7 summit to Cornwall as special guest which also could not happen due to covid crisis.

COP-26 will see participation of 120 Heads of States/Governments from around the world. On the sidelines, PM Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Israel's New PM Naftali Bennett. 

The meeting comes days after External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar's visit to the country. The New Israeli PM during his meeting with EAM in Tel Aviv said, "I speak on behalf of Israelis: We love India. We view India as a huge friend and we're looking forward to expanding our relationship in all fields and all dimensions.” 

In Glasgow, he will also be meeting the New Prime Ministers of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida. This will be the first in person meeting of the leaders. Both the meetings will be important given New Delhi shares special ties with both Kathmandu and Tokyo. 

The PM had spoken to PM Deuba in July to congratulate him even as both agreed to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The PM spoke to Japan PM Kishida earlier this month, with special focus on the Indo-Pacific. Last month in Washington, PM Modi had a bilateral with the then Japan PM Yoshihide Suga. 

He is expected to meet leaders from South American, ASEAN and African countries as well on the sidelines of the summits. All in all, the PM will have bilaterals in "double digit" from the almost 5-day long visit in two countries. 

The Prime Minister will have meetings with some members of the Indian community, with COVID-19 protocol in place in Rome and Glasgow. 

Traditionally, PM Modi has made it a point to meet Indian diaspora during visits abroad but amid covid it has been scaled down as per COVID-19 norms. This is PM's third visit abroad amid the covid crisis, after his visit to Bangladesh in March and US in September. His last visit, before coronavirus crisis, was in November 2019.

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